I went shopping a few times during the holidays and one of the things that I picked up (well, actually my Mum did) was a book by the author Haruki Murakami. It is actually two of his books in one; Pinball being the second book, and also features a third and final book in the series.
I was attracted to the book first by it’s minimal cover, created by Suzanne Dean. The book has two covers which I found out when I flipped it over to read the blurb (there isn’t one.) and found another cover in place, this one credited to the V&A and Steve Banks.
The cover for Wind is very abstract, with a cut squares and leaves which hint to the book’s setting and writer’s heritage from Japan, and makes a lovely change from the complicated covers which are usually found on book shelves. I am a fan of more simple covers, vintage hardback books being my favourite, so I opened the book to find out more.
Inside is more decoration, with the front pages designed to match their respective covers in a repeating pattern. Wind featured an abstract pattern, much like something you would find in a museum. Points to me for the worst description ever, but have some photos to see what I mean;
The order of the books is Wind, followed by Pinball and lastly A Wild Sheep Chase. I didn’t know there was a third until I finished wind and read the inner sleeve of the book and proceeded to internally scream. What happens to the rat? Who knows when I’ll find out because I haven’t finished Pinball yet and have no idea when I’ll get my hands onto the third.
The blurb follows the minimal tone of the novel, explaining what happens and nothing more. It tells the bare minimum and entices you becauase of this- no cliffhangers or ‘What will happen?’ It almost sounds…ordinary, like an everyday documentation which draws you into read more.
The chapters are short overall, with varying lengths throughout which I found odd at first, but I actually began to enjoy this style, especially the cute star divisions when a new chapter isn’t needed, but the events don’t flow into one another. Wind also has illustrations tying into the story.
As for plot, I have yet to figure one out. I mean, the events happen chronologically, and they make sense and have meaning…but the meaning isn’t to the reader- it’s to the narrator. This is what makes the book so special to me. It’s almost as if the narrator has invited us into his life, and we are observing his daily happenings. Nothing elaborate or fancy. Just his life. There is a real sense of ‘average is fine’ which I got from the book, a comforting thing if your like me and in the middle of essentially deciding your future.(yay uni applications)
The characters in the book are also interesting to say the least. The narrator is never named, his friend is only known as “the rat” and there’s a girl with only 9 fingers. Odd, right? This adds to the vague nature of the novel and also spurs me to re-read it again to see if I can piece together more coherently what is happening and what it means. If it means anything. Maybe it is just an interesting story about a person with no deeper meaning. After all, not everything needs to teach you something about life.
The Rat is a prominent character in the book, perhaps more so in Wind as he seems to be struggling, although he rarely shares why. Despite being from a rich family- he hates the rich and is a mysterious character who disappears and reappears through the chapters.
Many of the characters in Wind have little revealed about them- perhaps it reflects how people you meet share things with you, but never everything. It leaves a lot of questions which lead you on until you finish and realize…you have even more questions.
In short, it’s difficult to review the book without revealing what happens within the book and spoiling it. But it is a strange style of writing which is really fun to read and also challenging at times.
Overall, I loved this story, it is much different from the standard motivation-problem-solution or a how-to-life story, and I actually thought it was an autobiography at first. Actually, that’s how I would describe it- A fictional Autobiography.
I’ll review the next story; Pinball in the next post one I have finished reading it. I’ll also review the third book although I have no idea when that will be. What did you guys think? I’m not sure I reviewed the book very well, so tips would be appreciated! I’m curious to see if anyone else has read this too, I’d love to hear your opinions! Thanks for reading!